Recapitulating infection, thermal sensitivity and antiviral treatment of seasonal coronaviruses in human airway organoids

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Human seasonal coronaviruses usually cause mild upper-respiratory tract infection, but severe complications can occur in specific populations. Research into seasonal coronaviruses is limited and robust experimental models are largely lacking. This study aims to establish human airway organoids (hAOs)-based systems for seasonal coronavirus infection and to demonstrate their applications in studying virus-host interactions and therapeutic development.

METHODS: The infections of seasonal coronaviruses 229E, OC43 and NL63 in 3D cultured hAOs with undifferentiated or differentiated phenotypes were tested. The kinetics of virus replication and production was profiled at 33 °C and 37 °C. Genome-wide transcriptome analysis by RNA sequencing was performed in hAOs under various conditions. The antiviral activity of molnupiravir and remdesivir, two approved medications for treating COVID19, was tested.

FINDINGS: HAOs efficiently support the replication and infectious virus production of seasonal coronaviruses 229E, OC43 and NL63. Interestingly, seasonal coronaviruses replicate much more efficiently at 33 °C compared to 37 °C, resulting in over 10-fold higher levels of viral replication. Genome-wide transcriptomic analyses revealed distinct patterns of infection-triggered host responses at 33 °C compared to 37 °C temperature. Treatment of molnupiravir and remdesivir dose-dependently inhibited the replication of 229E, OC43 and NL63 in hAOs.

INTERPRETATION: HAOs are capable of modeling 229E, OC43 and NL63 infections. The intriguing finding that lower temperature resembling that in the upper respiratory tract favors viral replication may help to better understand the pathogenesis and transmissibility of seasonal coronaviruses. HAOs-based innovative models shall facilitate the research and therapeutic development against seasonal coronavirus infections.

FUNDING: This research is supported by funding of a VIDI grant (No. 91719300) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and the Dutch Cancer Society Young Investigator Grant (10140) to Q.P., and the ZonMw COVID project (114025011) from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development to R.R.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104132
JournalEBioMedicine
Volume81
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by funding of a VIDI grant (No. 91719300 ) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the Dutch Cancer Society Young Investigator Grant ( 10140 ) to Q.P., and the ZonMw COVID project (114025011) from the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development to R.R.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

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